Book Review – The Evening Lands by C.L. Spillard

Some people get guardian angels. Others get guardian devils.

That’s a key element in The Evening Lands, a philosophical masterpiece from Dr. C.L. Spillard. Evil isn’t necessarily something we are, it’s something we do. So, even though Mills is a guardian devil, he has something of a close relationship with Verity Player, a woman who’s outplayed him in the past. This interplay between human and devil is at the heart of Dr. Spillard’s deep dive into the nature of evil.

It’s not the entire plot, but it’s a key portion of the plot. The basic plot is in the blurb below. Anyone who’s read this blog for a while now knows a couple of things about my reviews. Notably, I very rarely regurgitate the plot – this a book review not a book report. I also won’t review a book I didn’t enjoy. If you want to read negative reviews of books check Amazon, there’s always someone who didn’t like a book and wants the world to know about it.

While I very rarely discuss plots, the subplot of Mills and Verity is an import piece to understanding a book that sometimes reads like a dream. That’s not a bad thing. We need more books that read like dreams and we need more tales where not everything is laid out in easy-to-digest chunks. Sometimes pondering a portion of a book is a good thing. It makes us think through things the author wants us to think through.

The Evening Lands isn’t a completely traditional book. The important elements aren’t necessarily the things happening in the foreground; they’re the parts happening in the background. The vague shapes lurking in the shadows, ready to leap out at you. It’s also one of the rare books where the plot is moved along largely through dialog rather than traditional narrative.

It is, in a word, brilliant.

It’s an easy book to read, but it’s not an easy book to get, at least not to squeeze the important parts out of it. But much like climbing a mountain, the view from the top makes it all worth it. If you’ve ever seen black box theater with all of its intimacy and grandiose nuance, you’ll recognize what The Evening Lands feels like.

Dr. Spillard is asking big questions here. What is evil? At what point does regular dickishness tip over into bald-faced evil? Fortunately, she’s not shy about providing some answers. She’s also not shy about poking the United States in the eye because, let’s face it, we in the US are full-on into dickishness and it would take just a nudge to push us face-first into evil.

Her guardian Devil plans to drive the world mad through fear—the fear on which he feeds. Verity needs allies—and fast. She crosses the ocean to meet The Professor and agrees to participate in his gruesome, dangerous experiment into the nature of Evil, hoping that in return he will use his knowledge to help her.
She never expects him to hold her captive and threaten to destroy her mind!
Can Verity escape The Professor’s lab and save the world from the wrath of her Guardian Devil?

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WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

This post might piss a few people off, but fuck it; here goes.

Robert E. Lee was a vicious bastard. In a world of slave owners, he reveled in cruelty. And yet, for some reason, there was a 12 ton statue of him in Richmond, VA. The question of whether or not he was a great general is debatable, but the question of whether or not he was a decent person is crystal clear.

Now, before we get too deep into the weeds, remember something: I’m not calling you a racist. So put down the pitchforks and torches and listen for a moment.

Lee has been lionized by history as a great man, a scholar, a gentleman, and a war hero. But the simple fact of the matter is he was a traitor to the country, a slave-owner, and an avid believer in the racist treacle he espoused. To sum it up: he genuinely felt blacks were not smart enough to take care of themselves. And for this he got a statue.

That big ol’ honkin’ statue of Lee astride his horse was erected in 1890, not long after the US Civil War and a time when the South was still licking its wounds and referring to the war as “The War of Northern Aggression”. They’d been hurt badly, stomped into the ground by Grant’s larger and better outfitted armies and Sherman’s march to the sea. The Confederacy was smashed and dragged kicking and screaming back into the United States where it’s continued to be a thorn in our side.

Last summer, after Derek Chavin – bastard and murderer – knelt on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes, people had enough. The statue of Lee was graffiti tagged eight ways to Sunday and calls to remove a memorial to white supremacy were renewed. In a similar vein, the statue of Juan De Oñate, another brutal murderer and general bastard, was removed from Old Town in Albuquerque, NM. It’s almost as if the country is waking up and looking at the past without the rose-tinted glasses we were handed in elementary school.

And what went up in place of Lee’s statue? Nothing for now. But just a couple of miles from Lee’s old statue a monument honoring abolition was erected. Now, you tell me which is better for a country that has right in its Declaration of Independence the phrase “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”? A monument to white supremacy and failed insurrection or a monument to actually trying to live up to the words we like to say?

You may now pick your pitchforks and torches back up. The comments section is below.

Read the article here

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are: Susan Scott and yours truly.

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